Mackerel is a popular fish due to its soft texture. Most people will want to store the fish for later. Would freezing mackerel be an option?
Can you freeze mackerel? Yes, you can freeze mackerel. Whether you’ve caught it yourself or it’s store-bought, if it’s properly packaged and stored, it will remain fresh for up to 3 months.
Does Mackerel Freeze Well?
Mackerel freeze well due to their texture. If you caught the fish yourself, to ensure that it stays at its best quality is to freeze them as soon as you get home.
For store-bought mackerel, you should place them in the freezer once you are home.
How To Freeze Mackerel
If you’ve bought mackerel from the store, and it’s already vacuum-packed, there’s no preparation needed. All you need to do is place them into the freezer once you’re home.
On the other hand, if the package is opened, or you’ve bought fresh mackerel from the supermarket, you’ll need to prepare them first. Below are the steps in details to freezing mackerel:
Step 1: Wrap Each Mackerel Individually
If you have more than one mackerel, you’ll want to wrap them individually. This will prevent them from sticking together when it’s frozen.
Use heavy-duty cling film or tin foil to wrap the fish. For extra protection, you can double wrap it.
Step 2: Place In an Airtight Container
In an airtight container, line it with greaseproof paper. Then place each of the wrapped mackerel into the container. You can stack them on top of each, but leave a little space at the top of the container.
Step 3: Label and Freeze
With a marker, write the date of freezing on the airtight container. If you’re planning to reuse the container, place paper tape on it and write the date. Then transfer them to the freezer for storage. It’s a good idea to place it at the back end of the freezer, where the temperature will not fluctuate a lot.
How To Freeze Freshly Caught Mackerel?
If you caught the mackerel yourself and planning to freeze it, you only have 24 hours. There’s nothing like fresh-caught fish since it will be at its freshest.
Once you get home, remove the guts from the fish first. This is an important step to prevent the guts from causing the fish to become bitter.
After that, use the instructions above to prepare the fish for the freezer. Properly stored, freshly caught mackerel will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.
How Long Can You Freeze Mackerel?
Mackerel will last for about 3 months in the freezer. Whether the mackerel is smoked or unsmoked, it will last around the same time.
The fish can last for much longer in the freezer, but each month that passes by, the quality of it will deteriorate.
Also, mackerel will still be safe to eat after 3 months, but you may not enjoy the taste of it very much.
To enjoy the fish at its best quality, try to eat it within 1-2 months.
How Do You Defrost Mackerel?
The only way to defrost mackerel without affecting its quality is to use the fridge. Remove the fish from the freezer, place it onto a plate, and transfer it to the fridge. Leave it overnight to let it thaw completely.
You may want to keep the mackerel covered while it’s in the fridge. This will prevent the odor from the fish from being absorbed by other food in the fridge.
Avoid thawing the fish at room temperature, even if you’re short on time. Doing so will run the risk of the fish spoiling and being contaminated with harmful bacteria. Also, it will cause the fish to thaw unevenly, which will affect its taste greatly.
Can You Refreeze Mackerel?
You can refreeze mackerel only under one condition. If the fish have not thawed yet, you can place it back in the freezer.
Otherwise, it’s not recommended in refreezing mackerel. Freezing the fish more than once will cause the texture to change greatly. After it’s frozen and thawed for the second time, you’ll notice the fish will be soft and has no flavor to it.
Therefore, once the fish is thawed, it’s best to consume all of it.
How To Tell When Mackerel Goes Bad?
Whether mackerel have been frozen or not, it will show signs of spoilage when it goes bad. Once the fish has gone bad, never eat it or use it for cooking. Doing so will cause food poisoning and could get you really sick.
The first sign to look for is the smell of the mackerel. When it goes bad, the fish will have a very bad smell to it. The smell will be enough to make you turn away.
The second sign to look for is mold growing on the fish. Once the mackerel goes bad, the flesh will start to become mushy and mold will start to grow on it.
The last sign to look for is the texture of the fish. If the fish has been in the freezer for longer than 3 months, the texture will be damaged due to freezer burn. Once it’s thawed, the fish will be mushy.
Other Questions about Mackerel
Can you freeze mackerel pate?
Yes, you can freeze mackerel pate. It will need to prepare first, so there will not be any texture change when it’s freezing. It’s best to portion them in smaller containers, so you won’t end up with any leftovers. You cannot refreeze mackerel pate.
Can smoked mackerel be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze smoked mackerel. You use the same process to freeze mackerel. Simply wrap them in a cling film, place them into an airtight container, and then freeze them.
For smoked mackerel, it’s important to wrap them as tight as possible. This will prevent the smoky fish odor from being absorbed by other food in the freezer.
A passionate cook and stay-at-home mom. Since I spend most of the time in the kitchen, keeping the pantry clean and organized is a top priority. Besides being a clean freak, I enjoy gardening, hiking and other activities under the sun.